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Extremely testing times

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How times change! As my sedan chair arrives at the Conservative Party conference I see the inflatable effigies of the late Nicholas Ridley have been replaced by placards reading 'local power now while we control most councils anyway', and 'trust councillors, we’re not all mad really'.

Localism has seized the Tories, and the centralisation pursued by Mr Ridley and his fellow ministers in the last Tory government, is now anathematised.

I wonder how long this attitude would survive the onset of a Tory government and the inevitable subsequent arrival of numerous Labour councils?

Accordingly, I have had a number of senior Conservatives delivered to my private laboratory (despite clamorous protests from anti-vivisectionists).

After lengthy experiments, during which I thoughtfully sedate them with crusted port, I can say with confidence that none of these Tories has any localism in their DNA.

Indeed their resemblance in this respect to their Labour counterparts is startling.

I release them unharmed, well aware that localism enters the bloodstream of politicians only in opposition.

Getting a rise out of them

A cloth-capped procession of the brothers and sisters of the local government trade unions arrives at Toulmin Hall to ask me to arbitrate on their pay claim.

A little known provision in the rules says if the two sides cannot agree, either may refer the matter to a ‘sound chap’.

I note that had single status not become such a mess, there might be rather more spare money around local government, pointing as I speak to my pigs’ ears and my dog’s dinner.

Their positions seem irreconcilable. I shall use my childhood ‘stick a tail on a donkey’ toy to find a solution.

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